In contrast with several other category winners that earned praise for executing new ideas well, the Hylas 56 was named the Best Premium Cruiser Over 55 feet because it did such a good job of implementing tried-and-true ideas in an exquisite package.
The boat’s easy-to-use anchoring setup, beefy winches, and bomber cleats caught the judges’ eyes, as did the sturdy hull, high-quality systems installation, and copious on-deck storage. Thanks to well-conceived handholds, logical brace points, good-size berths equipped with excellent lee cloths, and the large, well-equipped nav station, the judges found that the accommodations below would be safe and comfortable at sea. They also felt that the boat’s large galley, bright and airy saloon, and opulent owner’s cabin aft could make for luxurious living when the sail was done. High-quality components are used throughout, and unlike on some boats, which place critical systems in hard-to-access areas behind furniture, most systems on the Hylas are easy to reach.
The Hylas 56 is available with a variety of mainsail options, but the boat the judges sailed had in-mast furling that, once an initial jam was worked through, performed well in the light breeze that prevailed during the sea trial.
Under sail, in 6 to 8 knots of breeze, this moderately heavy-displacement sailboat gathered speed and held it, and the judges concluded that the cockpit and deck layout would be both safe and comfortable on a long passage.
The boat’s high-quality materials, superior craftsmanship, and sturdy construction should be up to the rigors of extended passagemaking.
The interior is both elegant and superbly functional.
The boat is big enough to cross oceans yet can still be sailed easily by a shorthanded crew.